The Teacher Shortage: 3 Proven Ways to Improve Recruitment and Retention

Find three ways to minimize the impact of the teacher shortage and improve your recruitment process.

The Teacher Shortage: 3 Proven Ways to Improve Recruitment and Retention

A new work revolution has emerged. The pandemic has led employees across multiple industries to reassess what matters. Employees have realized that working from the comfort of their own homes — is not such a bad idea.

And the field of education is no exception. Currently, more than 55% of educators plan to leave the classroom (reference) if they haven’t done so already.

Market factors are shifting the workforce's priorities, which translates to their willingness to work in a specific setting during specific hours. Schools lack the flexibility our current world of work is shifting toward, and while that may change in the long term, it will be difficult for schools to shift their model more quickly. (Charter School in New York)

Teachers are reporting burnout as the biggest reason for leaving the profession. But work-life balance, schedule flexibility, and higher compensation are also taking front row seats to what's leading teachers toward a classroom exit.

As a result, companies are targeting teachers who have or are planning to leave the workforce and increasing their career opportunities, salary, and work flexibility.

Although many schools have continuously held hope for high retention rates, such sentiments have been declining. Our most recent report shows that only 58% of schools project at least an 80% retention rate, compared to 75% of schools in 2020.

Although the Great Resignation has affected all industries, a study has identified a group of companies that have yet to feel the effects. This study specified three key areas that allow such organizations to not only experience the least friction in hiring, but to hold on to their existing talent. Let us analyze these three areas and how they can be applied to your school.

1. Recruit underrepresented candidates

Within the companies that attract quality candidates, 23% of interview opportunities go to underrepresented applicants. Similarly, 35% of job offers from those companies are given to underrepresented candidates.

In the realm of education, representation is crucial. Today, students of color outnumber teachers of color even though research clearly shows us that aligning racial and ethnic identities leads to both academic and disciplinary improvements.

More so, representation in school staff also helps retain educators. According to an Education Week report, 89% of educators of color and 65% of white educators say, "it is important for them to work at a diverse school or network."

To recruit educators of color, your recruitment efforts must be intentional:

  • Start early. Schools that start their hiring timelines at the beginning of the academic year hire more diverse teachers.
  • Actively targeting underrepresented teachers can increase your applicant pool.
  • Your marketing and communication assets (including job posts, website, social media, and school profile) must contain inclusive language.
  • Ask your staff: “When you decided to apply to [name of school], what information helped you make the decision? What information do you think is missing?”

If you have a Selected profile, you can go a step further and share your student and faculty demographics. Being transparent about who makes up your student and faculty attracts culture-fit candidates that are more likely to be interested in your school.

Image of Our Students and Our Faculty buckets that appear in every School profile on Selected.

2. Extend job offers faster

It is no news that the hiring process is long – too long. And in fact, it may be harming your hiring success rates.

The average hiring cycle is 40 days but varies between industries. Out of the companies analyzed, those who extended job offers within 36 days or less got an 84% response rate from successful candidates, compared to the 50% response rate of those companies with longer hiring processes. And recruitment within education mirrors these results.

Structuring a teacher-centered approach to hiring can help your team attract stronger candidates to your school, faster.

The teacher-centered approach requires designing for the applicant’s experience during recruitment and onboarding.

In today’s competitive environment, teachers have more options and are more selective when choosing a school. Enhancing the hiring and onboarding processes, while keeping the candidate’s experience in mind, will help set your school apart — and place you at the top of their lists.

3. Be transparent about salary and compensation

Conversations regarding salaries and compensation are considered taboo. Yet more and more employees are demanding more transparency in these areas. Around 60% of employees switch jobs to organizations with transparency guidelines in place. And if you are considering hiring younger generations, that percentage jumps to 78%.

It might be a mere coincidence, but there seems to be a correlation in why teachers are more likely to apply to public schools. District school salary and benefit package guidelines set expectations upfront. Applicants know what to expect from the get-go. Also, these packages are easy to find. With a simple Google search, candidates can find the information they are seeking.

To compete with districts and larger networks:

  • Make sure your salary and compensation packages are at the forefront of your communication and marketing strategies.
  • Create a landing page or a document and link it to your website, listing all the benefits your school has to offer.
  • Don’t forget to think of non-monetary benefits! Are prep periods left untouched? Does each classroom have a teaching assistant? Does your school offer parking in a busy metropolitan location?
Image listing what teachers consider while applying to schools.
  • Survey your staff and select 5 or 6 of the top benefits your school offers. Include the list in your Selected profile with a link to the complete list of benefits.
Image of the benefits section on a school profile. 

The truth is, a systemic restructure must occur to improve the number of educators in the profession. But these suggestions can help minimize the impact of the teacher shortage on your school.

Remember, your profile on Selected is public and visible to everyone. Make sure you complete your profile and attract as many qualified candidates to your school as possible.

About Selected

At Selected, our mission is to improve schools’ access to qualified, diverse, and relevant teachers — and we’re trusted by more than 1,600 PK-12 public and private schools who use Selected to optimize their hiring process and get discovered by right-fit candidates. View your candidate pool